Youssou N’Dour


Senegalese Singer, Percussionist, Songwriter, Composer, Actor, Businessman and Politician

Author Quotes

I grew up with reggae music.

Music is a language.

I have studied at the school of the world.

My father used to tell me about how musicians don't have respect from people and he was afraid about my future.

I have to protect my family and have a life with them that is completely private.

My music is like a spinning ball. It can turn in one direction, and then it comes back to origins.

I look at my people, and I look at those who control them - the political elite. And the sad thing is that the elites are just not interested in the welfare of the people.

Politics is politics; art is art. If you play a political role, you have to stop being an artist.

I love meeting interesting people and doing things with them.

Senegal needs a renaissance.

I really want to bring the message of love that is Islam to people; bring something new to that familiar face.

Senegal needs to free itself, to rediscover its democracy.

I respect music, I do. I love it.

The question of modernization is central to disturbances in the Middle East and in Africa. Everyone is after modernization, no matter where they come from. But you have to be careful about it, and more importantly, you have to have sense about it.

I think people should know more of Africa in terms of its joie de vivre, its feeling for life. In spite of the images that one knows about Africa - the economic poverty, the corruption - there's a joy to living and a happiness in community, living together, in community life, which may be missing here in America.

Travel teaches as much as books.

I think that Sufism fits all over the world. The concept is not anything that fits standard Western ideas - it's always related to culture, to music, to religion. It is a dominant religion in Senegal.

Western record companies haven't always dealt with African musicians in the best way. Giving them a lot of money and telling them they're going to be bigger than Phil Collins is the wrong way to do it!

I want to use my music to deliver a political message and sometimes to denounce, but I don't want to be a politician.

When I'm in Senegal, I can't just sit in isolation making music. People need my help. And the Senegalese people helped create my music. It comes from the country itself.

If you come from Africa with your economic poverty and your cultural riches, and you meet someone like Peter Gabriel or a person from a big record company, and they tell you that what you are doing is marvelous, that makes you feel powerful.

When the slaves left Africa, they left us this music. They left us blues.

I'm a modern Muslim. I pray, and if I have a question, I ask someone who is more educated in the religion than me.

World music is about taking things from different places and bringing them together - which is great.

In Africa, there is much confusion.... Before, there was no radio, or other forms of communication.... Now, in Africa ... the government talks, people talk, the police talk, the people don't know anymore. They aren't free.

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Senegalese Singer, Percussionist, Songwriter, Composer, Actor, Businessman and Politician